Human Factor

The drive for sustainability

Aiming to raise awareness for hydrogen as a fuel and show its potential to a broader public, Linde supports the Shell Eco-marathon and provides advice to the student race teams around the globe.

Ranging from ever increasing speed of innovation and digitalisation to climate change, the challenges societies around the globe are faced with may well be historic. By developing technologies that reduce the consumption of natural resources and use alternative fuels instead, Linde invests into a sustainable future – with the ultimate goal of a zero-emission mobility.

To explore the full capabilities of hydrogen as a fuel, Linde co-sponsors events such as the Shell Eco-marathon, a student race with hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Linde was among the first to recognise hydrogen’s massive potential as a clean fuel and started to strategically invest in developing technologies necessary for an infrastructure build-up. Today, the company is the leading supplier of innovative hydrogen refueling technologies and green hydrogen production methods, strongly engaged in the roll-out of  hydrogen infrastructure. 

To highlight these commitments, the company partners with Shell, Michelin, Ferrari and others to sponsor the Shell Eco-marathon (SEM). Aiming to promote H2 as a fuel for an attractive and sustainable concept of mobility, the race’s hydrogen category is of particular interest to Linde. With highly experienced engineers sharing their expertise with the student teams in the pit lane, the SEM offers Linde an opportunity to raise awareness for the subject while also experiencing the students’ often unconventional approach to the topic.

A friendly wager

The competition dates back to 1939 when Shell Oil Company employees in the USA made a friendly wager over who could travel furthest on the same amount of fuel. Since then it has expanded to two more continents and includes two energy types: combustion engines, which use petrol, diesel or liquid fuel made from natural gas and ethanol. In the electric mobility category, vehicles are powered by hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-based batteries.

The SEM provides a global platform to spark the next generation’s passion for hydrogen, a crucial energy carrier in the effort to reach a zero-carbon emissions world. The Eco-marathon allows Linde to showcase its innovation DNA and effort in building a sustainable world with the firm’s “H2 as fuel” capabilities.

This year will see three races, in Singapore, Sonoma (California) and London. Participants are competing in three fuel categories: combustion, battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

400 teams competed in the 2017 Shell Eco-marathon, observed by some 57,000 visitors.

Filling a gap

The Shell Eco-marathon – and the hydrogen category in particular – meet a need for information. Some 57,000 visitors worldwide came to see the races in 2017. Linde’s social media communication reached almost seven million people.

The number of participating hydrogen teams has grown continually over the past years to reach a total of 40 teams in 2017. Across all categories, 400 teams competed in 2017. Over several days, teams make as many attempts as possible to travel the furthest on the equivalent of one litre of fuel.

But success is not a one-way street. Mathias Kurras, a mechanical engineer working in Linde’s Hydrogen Mobility Team in Vienna, will provide hydrogen specific technical support to the teams at the Singapore race. Yet he is also an avid listener. “I’m hoping we can learn something from the performance of the fuel cells – to make hydrogen even more efficient in the future.”